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Pension Funds

Census Bureau: Public pension contributions rise 4.6% in 2017, assets up 7.8%

State and local government defined benefit plan contributions totaled $200.5 billion in 2017, up 4.6% from the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 annual public pensions survey.

Contributions totaled $191.6 billion in 2016, $179.7 billion in 2015 and $165.6 billion in 2014.

Contributions by governments accounted for the majority, totaling $145.3 billion in 2017, up 3.3% from the previous year's total of $140.6 billion. The remainder is employee contributions.

Split between state and local government DB plans, local governments contributed $79.7 billion in 2017, while state governments contributed $65.6 billion. Employee contributions totaled $55.2 billion, up 8.2% from the previous year's total of $51 billion.

Total assets of these plans, meanwhile, rose to $4.03 trillion, up 7.8% from the previous year, due in part to an 808% increase in investment earnings (to $453.1 billion in 2017 from $49.9 billion).

The amount of securities held by the surveyed state and local government plans totaled $3.3 trillion in 2017, up 6.5% from $3.1 trillion the previous year.

Non-governmental securities totaled $2.939 trillion in 2017, up 4.8% from $2.8 trillion the previous year, while governmental securities totaled $362.8 billion, up 22.7%.

Representatives at 297 state pension plans and 5,232 local defined benefit plans participated in the survey.

Data from the survey is available on the Census Bureau website.